2013 RDC Accomplishment Report

The Caraga Regional Development Council started the year 2013 by endorsing the fiscal year 2014 proposed budgets of regional line agencies and state universities and colleges of the region amounting to PhP 38 Billion during the 74th Caraga RDC Full Council Meeting on March 13, 2013. These budgets underwent a rigorous process of consultation with different stakeholders including civil society organizations before securing the endorsement of the RDC.

To heed President Aquino’s clarion call to update development plans, the Caraga RDC spearheaded the revision of the Caraga Regional Development Plan 2011-2016 and revalidation of the Regional Development Investment Program 2011-2016. The revision resulted in more sharpened strategies to attain inclusive growth and reduce poverty.

A series of technical working group meetings, workshops, sectoral consultations, and provincial/city consultations followed to ensure that local concerns are integrated in the revised plan. Finally, the Caraga RDC approved and adopted the Revised Caraga Regional Development Plan and Revalidated Regional Development Investment Program 2013-2016 through Regional Development Council Resolution Numbers 34 and 35, series of 2013, respectively, during the Caraga RDC Full Council Meeting on October 4, 2013.

The Revised Caraga Regional Development Plan 2013-2016 adopted the original goal of the Caraga Regional Development Plan 2011-2016, which is to make the Caraga Region the Fishery, Agro-Forestry, Mineral, and Eco-Tourism or FAME Center of the country by year 2030. This would be achieved by developing and harnessing the region’s abundant resources in fishery, agriculture, forestry, mineral, and eco-tourism. The Caraga RDC saw that increasing the productivity of these sub-sectors is the key in generating productive and gainful employment opportunities that will result in reduced poverty levels.

The Revalidated Regional Development Investment Program 2013-2016 on the other hand is the companion document of the Revised Regional Development Plan 2013-2016. It translates the objectives and strategies of the Regional Development Plan into concrete programs, projects, and activities proposed for implementation by the agency regional offices, state universities and colleges, local government units, and private sector.

The Revalidated RDIP contains strategic core investment programs and projects of agency regional offices, state universities and colleges, local government units, and the private sector. It also serves as basis for the preparation of annual budget proposals of agency regional offices, state universities and colleges, government-owned and controlled corporations, government financing institutions and the Regional Development Council’s review and evaluation of the annual budget proposals of these government entities.

The Caraga RDC has a tradition of inviting public-servant leaders to grace RDC meetings. Department of Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla attended the 75th Full Council meeting in Surigao City on June 24, 2013 and discussed energy-related issues.

On June 30, 2013, the term of office of the Caraga RDC Officials for 2010-2013 ended. Thus, on August 16, 2013, the Caraga RDC Secretariat spearheaded the reorganization of the Caraga RDC. The Caraga RDC identified two nominees each from the government and private sectors for the Caraga RDC Chairperson and Co-Chairperson positions. Governor Sol Matugas of Surigao del Norte and Governor Johnny Pimentel of Surigao del Sur from the government sector were nominated. Engr. Leonel Santos (Regional Private Sector Representative) and Mr. Joseph Omar Andaya (Butuan City Private Sector Representative) were the nominees from the private sector. The Caraga RDC is still waiting for the President to appoint the Chairperson and Co-Chairperson.

The chairpersons and co-chairpersons for the four Sectoral Committees of the RDC were likewise selected during this reorganizational meeting. Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas was selected as the Chairperson of the Development Administration Committee with Regional Director Lilibeth Famacion of the Department of the Interior and Local Government as co-Chairperson. Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante, Jr. was selected as the Chairperson of the Economic Development Committee with Regional Private Sector Representative Engr. Epimaco Galero, Jr. as co-Chairperson. Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel was selected as the Chairperson of the Infrastructure Development Committee with Department of Public Works and Highways Regional Director Danilo Versola as co-Chairperson. Bislig City Mayor Librado Navarro was selected as the Chairperson of the Social Development Committee with Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Director Minda Brigoli as co-Chairperson.

The Caraga RDC conducted four Full Council Meetings and passed 69 resolutions. The request of City Government of Butuan for the revocation of Presidential Proclamation Number 249, series of 2000 and the subsequent conversion of the Butuan City Multi-Purpose Training Center into an uptown government and commercial complex was endorsed by the Caraga RDC. The resolution paved the way for the City Government to design and implement projects or investments for commercial purposes.

The Caraga RDC also endorsed the results of the study Perceptions of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Beneficiaries on the Attainment of its Objectives In Caraga Region and the PPP for School Infrastructure Project II. The Department of Education Central Office already awarded the PPP for School Infrastructure Project II to BSP and Company and Vicente T. Lao Construction-Joint Venture B. The PPP for School Infrastructure Project II operating through a Build-Transfer scheme involves the design, financing, and construction of 10,679 classrooms.

The Caraga RDC supported the move to establish Tourism Police Force and Tourism Police Assistance Desks in areas in the region with high tourism traffic following the provisions of Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009.

Further, the Caraga RDC requested the Department of Justice to designate a prosecutor to handle environmental cases in each city or provincial prosecutor’s office.

To safeguard the environment, the Caraga RDC requested for the adoption of a filtering technology in rivers and creeks by mining companies to solve heavy siltation caused by mining activities as well as encourage the use of coco coir and coco nets for soil conditioning and erosion control in mined-out areas.

The Caraga RDC also requested the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Central Office to expedite the review of the special use agreement in protected areas to ensure conservation of biodiversity and sustainable development of protected areas to uphold critical ecological processes and life support systems.

A resolution requesting the central offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Tourism to come-up with specific guidelines in identifying tourism development areas was also passed by the Caraga RDC. Since the identification of tourism development areas is a national initiative, the criteria or guidelines for identifying should emanate from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Tourism Central Offices to ensure that all regions adhere to the same guidelines.

The Caraga RDC conducted the second Infrastructure Development Committee Tourism Road Infrastructure Prioritization Criteria (TRIPC) assessment visit for Agusan del Norte, Butuan City, and Agusan del Sur on December 3-6, 2013.

The Caraga Regional Project Monitoring Committee monitored the progress of implementation of 177 projects during regular monitoring and 86 projects during special monitoring.

The Caraga RPMC was the first to apply Geotagging technology in project monitoring among all the RPMCs in the country. Geotagging is the process of adding geographical information to photographs of projects monitored. Because of this trailblazing effort, the members of the Caraga Regional Project Monitoring Team served as resource persons on geotagging by other regions of the country.

Meanwhile, the Infrastructure Development Committee also reviewed the Umayan River Irrigation Project. The Investment Coordinating Committee-Cabinet Committee approved the change of cost on December 16, 2013 and this project is now calendared for discussion by the NEDA Board.

Through the Regional Geographic Information System Network and with funding support from the GIZ German Development Cooperation of the Republic of Germany, the Caraga RDC conducted two batches of trainings on Basic Quantum GIS, which were attended by 65 participants. Quantum GIS experts from the Department of Geodetic Engineering, College of Engineering, of the University of the Philippines-Diliman served as trainers.

The Agusan River Basin Task Force conducted two meetings in 2013. The meetings were conducted to discuss the results of the four water quality monitoring assessments and the expansion of the coverage of the assessment to other major water bodies of the region pursuant to Caraga RDC Resolution Number 32, series of 2012.

Also, the Multi-Sectoral Forest Protection Committee had three meetings in 2013. These meetings discussed the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force’s operation and identification of mechanisms to strengthen the wood industry in the region that resulted in the passage of a resolution requesting a prosecutor to handle environmental cases in each city or province.

“The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators (Edward Gibbon).” We have laid out our plans and now we are ready for sailing. With the blessings of Our Almighty God and Creator, let us be agents of change.

In this year of the horse, the symbol of perceptiveness and hard work, the Caraga RDC will aim to be more passionate in modeling change in the region for the betterment of others doing its mandated work with greater love, greater attention, and greater deliberation.

2014 RDC Accomplishment Report

The Caraga Regional Development Council (RDC) started the year 2014 with the launching of the Revised Caraga Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2013-2016 on January 15, 2014 in Butuan City. It was followed by the ASEAN Economic Community 2015 Integration Forum on January 24, 2014 also in Butuan City.

A Special RDC Meeting with Sec. Florencio Abad of the Department of Budget and Management was held on February 28, 2014 in Butuan City. In the said meeting, the RDC apprised the Secretary on the recent developments in Caraga three years after his first visit to the region. Budget related concerns of the region which need the action of the Secretary were also presented to during the meeting.

During the 78th RDC Full Council Meeting on March 20, 2014, the Council endorsed the Fiscal Year 2015 proposed budgets of regional line agencies (RLAs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs) amounting to PhP 55.9 billion. The RDC endorsed proposed budget is for the 23 RLAs, 12 attached agencies/bureaus and four SUCs. The budgets underwent a rigorous process of consultation with different stakeholders including civil society before securing the endorsement of the RDC.

The selection of Mayor Dale Corvera (Cabadbaran City) as the new RDC-Development Administration Committee (DAC) Chairperson and Mayor Shiela Mae Cebedo as the new Local Chief Executives’ (LCE) representative to the RDC-Executive Committee (ExeCom) were confirmed by the Council.

To chart the direction and priorities of the Council in the next three years, the RDC’s Direction for 2014-2016 was formulated. During the 3rd quarter RDC Meeting, the Council shifted from paper to digital agenda kits as an initiative to further improve the efficiency of RDC meetings. This initiative is the first among RDCs nationwide.

As part of the region’s effort to fast track the rehabilitation of Tropical Depression Agaton affected areas, the RDC endorsed the Reconstruction Intervention for Socioeconomic Enhancement (RISE) for Tropical Depression Agaton-Affected Areas. This paved the way for securing the budget for the implementation of the needed rehabilitation and reconstruction projects. Moreover, the inclusion of rehabilitation and reconstruction projects in the RLAs’ proposed budgets was a requirement in securing RDC endorsement.

The Revalidated Regional Development Investment Program 2013-2016 which contains the priority programs, projects and activities (PPAs) of the agencies, LGUs, state colleges and universities and the private sector was also updated. This is to ensure that the priority PPAs are responsive to the needs and priorities of the region. This document serves as a reference of the Council in evaluating the FY 2015 proposed budgets of the RLAs and SUCs.

To ensure that there is horizontal and vertical linkage of targets, the Results Matrices (RM), one of the companion documents of the Revised Caraga RDP 2013-2016 was adopted. The RM establishes the desired development results that the region intends to achieve by the end of the plan implementation period. To ensure that the targets set in the RM are realistic, attainable and vertically linked to the programs and projects of various stakeholders, the RDC Secretariat validated with the stakeholders the indicators and targets identified in the RM then these were presented and endorsed by the concerned Sectoral Committees. The adoption of the RMs by the Council is a concrete move to ensure that government deliver results.

The Caraga RDC conducted four Full Council meetings and passed 68 resolutions. During these meetings, a total of 40 projects/programs were endorsed by the Council to the appropriate agencies/funding institutions. A number of these projects have been funded for implementation. Endorsement of projects that support tourism development, improve access to tourism destinations and production areas and mainstream DRR-CCA measures in the region has been a key agenda of the Council in 2014. The Council also supported 13 policy reforms including the proposal to institutionalize the regional development budgeting process framework into the existing Philippine budgeting process. Another policy reform endorsed by the Council is the adoption of the Constitutional Fiscal Autonomy Group (CFAG) and COA Resolutions Providing for the Increase of Government Personnel Daily Travel Allowance for Local Travels from Php 800.00 to Php 1,500.00.

The Regional Project Monitoring Committee conducted a total of six monitoring activities including two special monitoring activities of rehabilitation and reconstruction projects in areas affected by Tropical Depression Pablo and Agaton. The Committee was able to monitor a total of 262 projects. The monitored projects include roads and bridges, slope and river bank protection, irrigation, school building projects, and health facilities enhancement.

Since the organization of the Caraga RPMC, the region hosted for the first time a National Project Monitoring Committee (NPMC) Meeting on May 14-15, 2014 in Tandag City. All the RPMCs all over the country were represented during the said meeting.

The RDC Executive Committee (ExeCom) conducted two meetings and passed 11 resolutions. A milestone resolution passed by the RDC ExeCom is Resolution No. 6, S. 2014 “Supporting the Celebration of the International Men’s Day in Caraga Region.” Thus, on November 19, the region celebrated for the first time International Men’s Day making Caraga Region the first to celebrate the event. The celebration is aimed at improving gender relations, highlighting positive male role models and celebrating men’s achievement and contributions, particularly to the community, family and child care.

The Multi-Sectoral Forest Protection Committee met twice in 2014. A milestone resolution passed by the Committee is the resolution supporting the reactivation and strengthening of the Ports Integrated Clearance Office (PICO) at Nasipit Port which resulted in the activation of PICO and allocation of budget for its Office. With the enforcement of EO 23, the Committee participated in the conduct of anti-illegal logging operations and apprehended/seized/confiscated a total of 1931303.84 board feet of forest products.

The Council also closely monitored the advance implementation of the Senior High School in the region and provided avenues such as Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting on April 8, 2014 and a Forum on Senior High School Advance Implementation to discuss operational issues and gaps and come up with appropriate actions.

The Regional Land Use Committee geared up for the updating of the Regional Physical Framework Plan. Thus, series of training-workshops were conducted to capacitate the RLUC and the technical working group members in physical planning. Among these training-workshops are:

  1. Orientation on Land Administration and Management Policies in the Physical Framework Planning Process (July 17-18, 2014);
  2. Integrating Conflict Sensitivity in the Regional Physical Framework Planning Process (Aug 4-6);
  3. Integrating Gender and Development Concerns in the Regional Physical Framework Planning Process (Aug 18-20);
  4. Training on Geographic Information System for Beginners (Oct 13-17);
  5. Training Workshop on the Integrated Ecosystem Management in the Sub-National Physical Planning Processes cum Training on Map Generation (Sept 29-Oct 3, 2014); and
  6. Training Workshop on the Regional Physical Framework Planning (Dec 1-5, 2014).

As a result, the Planning Environment Chapter of Gender and Conflict Sensitive, DRR-CCA-Enhanced Caraga Regional Physical Framework Plan has been drawn.

The Gender and Development Coordinating Committee (GADCC) continues to take the lead in implementing gender and development initiatives in the region. During the Women’s Month Celebration, the RDC-GADCC conducted a Forum on Reproductive Health Bill, jail visitation and Kalandrakas X. The region’s call to end violence was highlighted with the conduct of the 18 day campaign to end violence against women where various activities were conducted.

The successful implementation of the Revised RDP relies on the effective communication of the Revised RDP’s vision, goals, objectives and targets and the support and participation of the regional stakeholders. During the 79th RDC Full Council Meeting on June 29, 2014, the Communication Plan for the Revised RDP 2013-2016 (ComPlan) was approved. The ComPlan contains communication strategies and various activities to communicate and advocate the Revised Caraga Regional Development Plan 2013-2016 (Plan) to the different stakeholders. The call to action message of the Communication Plan is “Be the agent of change” – a call for everyone to do relevant and strategic actions for the region and become agents of positive change.

As contained in the ComPlan, the RDC conducted the Agents of Change Forum, Corporate Partners Forum, Agents of Change Photography, Canvass Painting and Jingle Making Competitions and 2014 Agents of Change Awards. All these initiatives are aimed at engendering support for the implementation of the RDP and popularizing the call for everyone to be agents of positive change.

With these accomplishments in 2014, the RDC remains true to its commitment to forge strong partnership and be a hallmark of unity and cooperation. The Caraga RDC will continue to blaze trails that will bring into fruition a development that is high and sustainable, generates mass employment that draws the majority of Caraganons into the economic and social mainstream and facilitates the reduction of poverty.

2015 RDC Accomplishment Report

The year 2015 is a rather year of innovation and of forging strategic partnerships for the Caraga Regional Development Council (RDC) as it ushers the region towards its goal of becoming the Fishery Agro-forestry Mineral and Eco-Tourism (FAME) Center of the Philippines.

The year started with a meeting of the RDC Executive Committee where the 2015 RDC Work and Financial Plan was approved. This plan was later confirmed by the Full Council during its first quarter meeting on March 26, 2015.

Caraga RDC Initiatives

The Council spearheaded the week-long celebration of Caraga’s 20th Founding Anniversary. On February 23, 2015 a parade was held, which was followed by a Thanksgiving Mass and Opening Program. During the Opening Program, persons who have been instrumental in the creation of Caraga as a region and also those who have contributed to the efforts of pursuing inclusive development were recognized. A Caraga Through the Years Exhibit and a Trade Fair were set-up during the celebration.

During Caraga’s founding anniversary, the 1st State of the Region Address (SORA) was delivered by the RDC Chairperson, Hon. Sol Matugas. The SORA highlighted the development gains of the region for the past three years including the high economic growth and the reduction of poverty in Caraga. A two-day Regional Land Use Forum was conducted on February 23-24, 2015 participated by various stakeholders to discuss land use issues. The said Forum was supported of the GIZ.

During the 82nd RDC Meeting on March 26, 2015, the Council endorsed the Fiscal Year 2015 proposed budgets of regional line agencies (RLAs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs) amounting to Php 87.392 billion. The RDC endorsed the proposed budgets of 19 RLAs, 13 attached agencies/bureaus and four SUCs. The proposed budgets underwent a rigorous process of consultation with different stakeholders including civil society organizations (CSOs) and the sectoral committees before securing the endorsement of the RDC. A meeting with the Congressional Representatives in Caraga Region was also held where selected regional line agencies presented their RDC-endorsed FY 2016 proposed budgets to ensure alignment of priorities between the RDC and the Congresspersons.

The Caraga RDC in coordination with the Province of Surigao del Norte conducted a Teambuilding and Leadership Training last April 6-7, 2015 in Cebu City participated by 22 RDC members led by Governor Sol F. Matugas, four department heads of LGU Surigao del Norte and selected NEDA-Caraga personnel. The activity was aimed at strengthening the leadership capacities of the RDC members as well as fostering camaraderie between and among the members.

Recognizing the contributions of science and technology in advancing regional development goals, the RDC also supported the conduct of Science and Technology Forum on May 27, 2015 with the theme “Ramdam na Agham” with Secretary Mario G. Montejo as the guest of honor.

As approved through RDC ExeCom Resolution Number 16, Series of 2015 and confirmed by RDC Resolution No. 21, Series of 2015 the RDC conducted the Mindanao Stakeholder’s Responsible Mining Forum on July 14-15, 2015 in partnership with the Caraga State University and the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIERRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The Forum paved the way for the discussions of issues confronting the mining industry and provided opportunity to share researches and good practices on responsible mining.

Cognizant of the crucial role that research plays in improving plan formulation, investment programming, budgeting and monitoring and evaluation, the Council spearheaded the conduct of a series of activities for the formulation of the Caraga Research Agenda. The Caraga Regional Research Agenda covers a broad spectrum of research activities in five categories – measuring the problem; understanding causes, elaborating solutions; translating the solutions or evidence into policy, practice, and products; and evaluating the effectiveness of solutions that corresponds to the goal of the region to become the FAME Center of the Country.

To track the socio-economic progress of the region, the 2014 Regional Development Report was prepared and adopted by the Council. This report assesses the performance of the region in implementing the Revised Caraga Regional Development Plan 2013-2016. The 2014 Annual Regional Economic Situationer and Quarterly Regional Economic Situationers were also prepared which featured the economic performance of the region on an annual and quarterly basis including Caraga’s development prospects.

The 2013 and 2014 Progress Reports on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were also prepared and adopted by the RDC. The MDG Updates tracks the progress of the region in attaining the targets under the eight goals of the MDG.

Four issues of the Caraga Today were released with a total of 440 copies distributed to the RDC members and other regional stakeholders.

With the increasing trend on HIV-AIDS prevalence, the urgency to mobilize key government agencies to prevent the further spread of HIV infection and reduce the impact of AIDS on individuals, families, and communities was recognized by the Council. Thus, it passed a resolution creating the HIV-AIDS Technical Working Group. This group spearheaded the formulation of the HIV-AIDS Strategic Communication Plan 2016-2020, which was subsequently endorsed by the Council through RDC Resolution No. 45-B, S. 2015.

A milestone initiative of the RDC last year was the preparation of the Roads and Bridges Investment Program (RBIP). The formulation of the Caraga RBIP is a hallmark contribution of the RDC in strengthening its strategic role of mobilizing investments for roads and bridges.  It is a product of the concerted efforts of the five provinces with the support The Asia Foundation (TAF) and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Australian Embassy. The conduct of Inter-Provincial Harmonization Workshop on October 5, 2015 was a key activity in the preparation of the RBIP 2016-2022. Further, the Caraga RDC Executive Committee passed Resolution No. 17, Series of 2015 “Approving the Conduct of the Caraga Roads and Bridges Summit 2015”. The said Summit took place on October 20, 2015 with the presence of key partners from the Central Offices of DPWH, DBM, DAR and NEDA.

As part of the pilot testing of the Ex-Post Evaluation Reference Manual drafted by the NEDA Monitoring and Evaluation Staff, the RDC supported the conduct of Ex-Post Evaluation on Second Women’s Health and Safe Motherhood Project (SWHSMP) in Bislig City. The said ex-post evaluation was conducted by NEDA and the Surigao del Sur State University (SDSSU).

In 2014, the use of digital agenda kits during RDC and RDC sectoral committee meetings was launched. Proving to be a more efficient and cost effective way, this was sustained in 2015.

The Regional Geographic Information System Network provided technical assistance to the five provinces in the preparation of vulnerability assessment per hazard. A total of 40 maps were edited and used in the DRR/CCA-Enhanced Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plans. Forty maps were also printed and used in the exhibit during the Launching of the  DRR/CCA-Enhanced PDPFPs last December 18, 2015.

Anchored on the theme “Promoting Wellness, Building Camaraderie and Strengthening Partnership”, the 1st Caraga RDC Sportsfest was held on November 10-13, 2015 starting with a Parade and Opening Ceremony attended by a total of 552 personnel from various regional line agencies, academic institutions and local government units. The RDC-Infrastructure Development Committee emerged as the overall champion; the RDC-Economic Development Committee clinched the 2nd place while the RDC-Development Administration Committee placed 3rd.

Several capability building interventions were also conducted for the Secretariat and RDC members. Policy Analysis and Project Development Trainings were conducted last year participated by the RDC Secretariat, selected RDC members and local government units.

The RDC and Its Committees

The Caraga RDC conducted four Full Council meetings and passed 93 resolutions. During these meetings, a total of 17 programs/projects were endorsed by the Council to the appropriate agencies/funding institutions. A number of these projects have been funded for implementation. Endorsement of projects that improve agricultural productivity, improve access to tourism destinations and production areas and DRR-CCA measures in the region has been a key agenda of the Council in 2015. The Council also passed 23 policy related resolutions which include endorsement of the designation/declaration of Hinatuan Bay and Enchanted River as Critical Habitats, institutionalization of the 4Ps, request for CHED to add more courses under the 3% other priority courses for Caraga Region,  support and endorsement to House Bill No. 5612 “An Act Providing for the Construction of Concrete Barangay Roads/Multi-purpose Pavements in All Barangays and for Other Purposes” and endorsed a number of recommended amendments to the National Sewerage and Septage Management Program.

The RDC Executive Committee (ExeCom) conducted two meetings and passed 11 resolutions. Milestone resolutions passed by the ExeCom include those that approve or support the conduct of key activities such as the 20th Caraga Anniversary Celebration, National Caving Congress, Responsible Mining Forum and Roads and Bridges Summit.

The RDC sectoral committees namely, RDC- Development Administration Committee, Economic Development Committee, Infrastructure Development Committee and Social Development Committee conducted its quarterly meetings and passed a total of 38 resolutions

The Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC) conducted four meetings, four  technical working group (TWG) meetings and four problem solving sessions. It has also forged a Memorandum of Agreement with the Office of the Civil Defense to include in its monitoring activities those National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRM) funded rehabilitation projects. With its four regular and one special/joint monitoring visits, the Committee was able to monitor a total of 127 projects. Last year, the first ever Search for Outstanding Local Project Monitoring Committee (LPMC) for Caraga Region was conducted to recognize the best performing LPMCs. The Province of Surigao Del Norte for Provincial Category and Butuan City for City Category were declared as winners. Other initiatives of the Committee include the conduct of training on Applied Geotagging Technology as a Project Monitoring Tool for RMPC V and conduct of Gender Responsive-Regional Project Monitoring and Evaluation System (GR-RPMES) and Harmonized GAD Guidelines Orientation for the Province of Agusan Del Sur. Lastly, the 3rd Tourism Infrastructure Assessment Visit was conducted on May 21-23, 2015 in Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands.

The Gender and Development Coordinating Committee (GADCC) continues to take the lead in implementing gender and development initiatives. During the Women’s Month Celebration, the RDC-GADCC conducted a Press Conference, Color Fun Walk, Kalandrakas XI, and Women’s Consultation. A Short Film Making Contest on violence against women and children dubbed as Salida Film Festival was also initiated by the GADCC. The region’s call to end violence was highlighted with the conduct of the 18 day campaign to end violence against women and children where various activities were conducted including the Simultaneous Salida Showing/Caravan featuring the winning entries of the Salida Festival.

While the Regional Land Use Committee (RLUC) conducted only one meeting, it passed two milestone resolutions namely, Resolution No. 03, S. 2015 “Endorsing to the RDC the Request of the Regional Ecotourism Council for Endorsement of Support to Excise the 10 Proposed Conservation Areas in the Province of Dinagat Islands” and Resolution No. 04. S. 2015, “Requesting the RDC to Support the Declaration of the Hinatuan Bay and the Enchanted River as Critical Habitat”. Lastly, on December 18, 2015 the Disaster Risk Reduction-Climate Change Adaption (DRR-CCA) – Enhanced Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plans of the five provinces in the region were launched.

With these accomplishments in 2015, the RDC remains true to its commitment to be a hallmark of unity and strong partnership in implementing meaningful reforms for the benefit of every Caraganon.

Caraga RDC through the years

Caraga Region was created 20 years ago. But unknown to most of us, the name Caraga already existed for more than 400 years when the Spaniards formed a military garrison in 1609 in Tandag. Provincia de Caraga was born with Tandag as capital.

At the dawn of the 20th century, the name Caraga drowned in oblivion when Provincia de Caraga became Provincia de Surigao; more so, when Surigao and Agusan provinces were sub-divided and formed part of Region 10 while Surigao del Sur became part of Region 11.

Years passed, underdevelopment plagued the provinces of Surigao and Agusan. Cognizant of this concern, seven valiant congressional representatives decided to unite the Surigaos and Agusans into one region and give this erstwhile neglected area the government’s attention and focus.

Representatives Charito Plaza, Eduardo Rama, Sr., Ceferino Paredes, Jr., Glenda Ecleo, Robert Barbers, Mario Ty, and Jesnar Falcon successfully labored for the passage of RA 7901. Thus, Caraga marched to a new dawn and began writing its own history as a new region of the Philippines.

At the outset, the road was bumpy for the new region as it had to grapple with many issues like persistent poverty, slow economic growth, unemployment, malnutrition, environmental degradation, and others. But Caraga as a region believes that meaningful development can come only from convergence of efforts of different sectors of society. Subsequently, the Caraga Regional Development Council was convened to steer the region towards progress. Twenty years later, Caraga RDC has passed many milestones for the region.

For twenty years, five chairpersons guided the Caraga RDC and pushed for continued progress for the region.

Hon. Ma. Angelica Rosedell Amante, then Governor of the Province of Agusan del Norte, became the first Caraga RDC chair from 1995-1998 with Mr. Felix Villacastin as her co-Chair.

During this period, the Caraga RDC:

  • Endorsed the first set of proposed budgets of the regional line agencies; and the initial protected area plan for the Siargao Island Protected Landscape and Seascape (SIPLAS) in the Province of Surigao del Norte;
  • Endorsed the following: the Lower Agusan Development Project (LADP) – Flood Control Component Phase II for the construction of flood control facilities for the lower Agusan River; the construction/improvement of Loreto-Dinagat-Cagdianao road, and the proposed Butuan City Circumferential Road Project

The Commission on Population-Caraga became a special non-voting member of the Caraga RDC; and Mario Viñas, Elsa Sobrecaray, Felix Villacastin, Engr. Leonel Santos, Engr. Epimaco Galero II, Cecilio Corvera, Edna Hontiveros, and Rogelio Fabe  became the first set of Private Sector Representatives.

Hon. Valentina Plaza, then Governor of the Province of Agusan del Sur, succeeded as the second Caraga RDC chair from 1998-2001 with Engr. Epimaco Galero Jr. as her co-Chair.

During this time, the Caraga RDC membership grew with the addition of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as regular members; and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) as special non-voting members.

The Gender and Development Coordinating Committee was created to handle and advocate GAD-related issues and concerns.

The quarterly Caraga RDC newsletter was born to provide a regular medium for information dissemination about RDC matters and activities. And, it continues to fulfill its purpose after twenty years and is now known as the Caraga Today.

Caraga RDC officially recognized the Lake Mainit Development Alliance headed by then Gov. Francisco Matugas.

The Caraga RDC endorsed the following: proposed Bayugan Water District Development Program for funding under the Local Water Utilities Authority; conduct of counterpart feasibility study and detailed engineering preparation of the Adgaoan-Umayam River Irrigation Project between the Agusan del Sur and NIA; concreting of the Surigao-Davao Coastal Road for funding and improvement and development of the Loreto – Cagdianao National Road Network in Dinagat Island; improvement of the Siargao Island Circumferential Road; middle Agusan River Development Project and the Surigao City Sanitary Landfill Project.

In 2001, the Caraga RDC adopted the Regional Tourism Master Plan 2002-2030 that outlines the various prospects for promotion like natural resource endowments, rich historical and cultural heritage and strategic location of the region.

In 2001-2004, Hon. Lyndon Barbers, then Governor of the Province of Surigao del Norte, chaired the Caraga RDC.

Mainstreaming GAD efforts in the region was pushed and the Caraga RDC adopted the industry clustering approach as a strategy for Caraga’s regional development.

During this time, the Caraga RDC membership again grew when the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), and Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corporation (QUEDANCOR) were confirmed as special non-voting members of the Council. Likewise, the membership of the Private Sector Representatives was expanded.

The Caraga RDC supported the following: Anti-trafficking in Persons Act of 2002, the Child Friendly Movement, and the KALAHI-CIDSS as the government’s strategy for convergence in fighting poverty. It likewise endorsed the 2nd Women’s Health and Safe Motherhood Project, and the proposed watershed/forest reserve areas in Caraga Region for presidential proclamation under NIPAS Law of 1992.

The RDC mounted the Caraga Roads and Bridges Forum,  supported the 11th Mindanao Business Conference,  and the conduct of the 1st Regional Cooperative Congress,  the Mindanao-wide GIS Conference-Workshop, the 9th Caraga Business Conference, and the Mindanao Environment and Watershed Summit.

It created an Oversight Committee to assist DENR in managing the production forest within the Caraga forest plantation corridor and in monitoring, evaluating, and assessing the implementation of the community-based resource management agreement.

On its 10th year, the Caraga RDC was chaired by the late Hon. Democrito Plaza II, Mayor of Butuan City, from 2004-2007 with Engr. Leonel Santos as his co-Chair.

The Caraga RDC supported tourism initiatives to boost Caraga’s tourism potential such as the conduct of WOW Caraga: Madyaw Karajao Roadshow Presentation in Caraga and Madyaw Karajao 2005 in Manila. It also supported the implementation of One Town One Product Philippines (OTOP Philippines) program, the implementation of RA 8980 or the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Act and the institutionalization of the ECCD Programme at the Regional and Local levels.

This term endorsed critical infrastructure projects such as the Butuan-Malaybalay Road, Butuan-Tandag Road, Second Magsaysay Bridge, and Butuan City Bypass Road Project, expansion of the runway of the Butuan City Bancasi Airport and Umayam Irrigation Project.

At the provincial level, the governors were requested to formulate watershed management and development plans.

The Caraga RDC fervently promoted and supported the mainstreaming of the Millennium Development Goals concerning children in the planning process at the regional and local levels and the mainstreaming of the Millennium Development Goals in local development alongside the request for the establishment of the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs and local investment boards in all local government units.

The National Economic Research and Business Assistance Center (NERBAC) was created to support the government policy of providing necessary strategic economic and business information and research assistance to speed up the process and encourage the growth of entrepreneurship.

In 2009, the coconut and moringa industries were recognized and adopted as part of the Caraga Region’s industry clusters.

The Regional Geographic Information System Network (RGISN) was established to support the effective physical planning, decision-making, policy making, investment programming, monitoring and evaluation of socioeconomic development and environmental-related programs, projects and policies for sustainable development.

Hon. Sol Matugas, Governor of the Province of Surigao del Norte, became the fifth chairperson of the Caraga RDC and the first to serve two consecutive terms. She chaired the Caraga RDC together with Mr. Marlon Advincula as her co-Chair from 2010-2013 and again from 2013 to present.

In 2010, the conceptual framework of the Conflict Sensitive Resource and Asset Management (COSERAM) Programme was endorsed. Likewise, Caraga RDC published the Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Enhanced Regional Physical Framework Plan for the years 2004-2030. The Regional Physical Framework Plan serves as the reference in the advocacy and mainstreaming of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in the regional and sub-regional development plans, programs, and policy initiatives.

Subsequently, the Caraga RDC requested support from all local government units for the mainstreaming of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (DRR/CCA) in local development planning and decision-making processes.

The Caraga RDC:

  • Supported the enforcement of the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons;
  • Launched the Regional GIS Center and the Regional GIS Network and its website with funding support from the Korean Government;
  • Improved the RGIS Center and provided training to the RGISN members with funding support from GIZ;
  • Coordinated the research project on the perceptions of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Beneficiaries in 2013;
  • Endorsed the Reconstruction for Socioeconomic Enhancement (RISE) Plan for Tropical Depression Agaton-affected areas in Caraga Region as Caraga’s strategic roadmap for recovery and reconstruction ; and
  • Created the Committee on Indigenous Peoples Concerns. Only Caraga and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) have such bodies to give importance to IP concerns.

In 2012, Caraga’s poverty incidence among families declined and Caraga’s GRDP growth rate emerged as one of the highest in the country.

Under Chairperson Matugas’ leadership, the Caraga RDC achieved many firsts:

  • In 2013, the Caraga RDC’s Regional Project Monitoring Committee became the first to apply geo-tagging technology in project monitoring among all the RPMCs in the country. Geo-tagging is the process of adding geographical information to photographs of projects monitored. Because of these trailblazing efforts, the Caraga Regional Project Monitoring Team serve as resource persons on geo-tagging to other RPMCs in the country.
  • In 2014, the Caraga RDC became the first RDC to go paperless by using tablets during meetings.
  • Also in 2014, the Caraga RDC was the first to implement projects for the communication of the Revised Caraga Regional Development Plan. It conducted:
  • Agents of Change and the Corporate Partners’ For a; and
  • Be the Agent of Change contests on jingle making, canvas painting, and photography.

After 20 years, the quest for economic and social progress continues to challenge the Caraganons to do great feats and create groundbreaking ideas for the region. Everyone has to work harder to further reduce poverty incidence so that everyone will live better lives as well as fulfill the targets of the Millennium Development Goals.

For an economically and socially progressive region, the Caraga RDC continues to position Caraga as the Fishery, Agro-Forestry, Mining, and Eco-Tourism center of the country, or the FAME center of the Philippines. Everyone should continue to labor until this dream is realized. It is a daunting task but it is possible.